Creative Writing: How Do You Make Money At It?

Creative Writing: The Sky's The Limit.
Creative Writing: The Sky's The Limit.

Creative writing often falls into two types of writing: short stories and poetry. And short, creative writing is often the jumping-off point, or an alternative creative outlet, for many writers of popular books. So creative writing classes and workshops are a solid place to start if you want to write poetry or short stories. And writing poetry or short stories can also help you write a lengthier work of fiction. If this is what you want to do.

So if you have taken the time to participate in a creative writing class, you have taken the first positive step towards becoming a professional writer. Learning some writing skills while learning the craft of writing.

This is your education.  And in a classroom setting, you can learn all about creative writing techniques: like for example, how to use a creative writing worksheet to formulate story ideas. Or creative writing exercises: like using creative writing prompts, or how to find an age-appropriate creative story-starter for teens.

So now what?

Because once you have completed all of your creative writing worksheets and have been educated and evaluated by your professors and peers, where does this leave you? Writing online? Hoping someone notices you and gives your short stories a kind review?

Yes, harshly enough, it does. And gone are the encouraging remarks from teachers and colleagues.

You are now on your own, competing against everyone else's creative writing ideas.

And trying to sell your short stories or poetry to a paying public.  Or trying to get published in an anthology or a collection of short stories. Or even getting some positive feedback on one of those writing websites. Along with every other creative writer on the internet. All for seemingly unsympathetic viewers who aren't even interested enough to comment on your blog posts. Let alone read your stories or take a glance at your poetry. So where does the money part come in?

And how do you get anyone to buy your work, when they aren’t even reading your creative writing for free?

How do you make real money from the short stories and poems that your friends, family, and teachers have all enjoyed so much?

First of all, if you are active on the internet, you understand this happens to every creative writer. Those who were rejected until they finally wrote some popular books. But for right now, until there is some recognition or a paycheck for your work, this is of little comfort.

Nevertheless, don’t stop writing. Because it is possible  to make a living at creative writing. You just have to be more resourceful. And your work has just begun. In fact, in order to make money by selling your short stories or poems, you will have to face the harsh reality of hard work. And lots of it.

Because writing just a few poems or short stories will not make you any money. Because this is not enough writing for a publisher to sell. And no one pays for book ideas in advance.

Go here to learn more about how to start writing a novel:

Creative Writing: The Harsh Reality of Writing Poetry.

Collections of poetry which are generally considered for publication minimally start at sixty pages, and it goes up from there. But this isn’t 60 poems - it is 60 pages of poems. There’s a big difference. As it may take 120 poems to fill those 60 pages. Or more.

And ask any poet. In order to get 60 publishable pages of poetry (minimum), they will write many, many more poems than that. Maybe 1,000 poems.

Also, in the course of writing this poetry, they will do a lot of networking with the people who publish poetry. Talking to them about what is important to them as a poet, and also what is happening in the world of contemporary, publishable poetry. It’s a give and take. And this can take years. But keep writing poetry diligently every day, and it will happen for you. Just like everyone else who hung in there.

Creative Writing: The Harsh Reality of Writing Short Stories.

Many bloggers push the publishing of short stories as ebooks, and tell you that’s where the money is. But this isn’t exactly true. To make money selling short stories on Amazon, etc., your creative writing will have to meet some very specific criteria. Which these same people (who also push the short-story writing) will fully admit to.

Criteria For Selling Short Stories #1. Here is where your creative writing efforts will have to embrace all of the classic elements of the short story to the utmost degree. In order to sell it, your short story must have a strong plot with a conflict, an interesting setting, fascinating characterization, and a strong resolution. The resolution being the most important part. Along with fully-developed characters whom people can identify with.

Criteria For Selling Short Stories #2. To get started, your short story must fall into one of these three commercially viable genres: horror/suspense, comedy, or romance/erotica. This is what people are buying from unknown authors. Nevertheless, once you establish yourself, you can start writing the real stories you have to tell.

As someone who wants to make a living at creative writing, this may not be what you want to hear.

I understand that. But there is a big difference between writing one thoughtful poem or an amusing short story for your writing seminar, and then writing a full-length  commercially successful literary work.

Like “Leaves of Grass” or “The Great Gatsby.”

Writing a book (of poetry, or a novella) will take a lot more time and effort. So if you have one popular poem or short story, think of it as one of those free writing prompts, but for a much longer work.

Think of the positive things in your short stories or poems - the things readers respond to. And then make a list of writing prompts that will turn your short piece of writing into a full-length book or novel. This is just one of the tips on writing a book that will help. Because once you start expanding on an already successful idea, you will be on your way to start writing your first book.

And keep writing every day, and through perseverance and making connections, you will eventually succeed in making a living at creative writing. Because not only will you finish writing a book for the first time, you will also be on your way to publishing a book for the first time as well.

I know you can do it.

How To Write A Book

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